BY KATHYRN KEVE
Thirty years ago, Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monks came to the Pacific Northwest with the intention of building a Peace Pagoda. Many monks came to build the Temple on Lynwood Center Road to support this project. Now, a Peace Pagoda is planned on the island; a first on the west coast.
Peace Pagodas are visible prayers to awaken humankind to peace. The architecture is typically Japanese and the purpose is to give universal form to our desire to dedicate our lives to peace and justice. Peace Pagodas are sometimes referred to as “acupuncture” for the earth.
It is said that as one views the Peace Pagoda, “It appears to arise, as a prayer, from the very elements surrounding it–the earth, air, water, and sky. Everyone, regardless of their creed, may feel its appeal to the sacredness of all life.”
Since 1947, seventy-five Peace Pagodas, also referred to as stupas, have been built by the Nipponzan Myohoji Order–in Asia, Europe, and the United States, including one in London on the Thames River and another in Vienna on the Danube. Other traditions also build peace pagodas such as an Earth Sanctuary stupa and sculpture garden built by Tibetans on Whidbey Island.
Current plans are to build a Peace Pagoda and garden on property adjacent to Highway 305 between Seabold Methodist Church and Hidden Cove Road. It will be an asset to the Island for generations to come, similar in beauty to the Bloedel Reserve and our many parks which are natural retreats of beauty and serenity.
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Peace Walks are another way this Buddhist Order works for peace — by walking, drumming and chanting. This year, the annual Interfaith Peace walk will begin in Portland, Ore and end at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action: www.gzcenter.org. The walk will include evening talks on the Hibakusha (those exposed to radiation worldwide) and the Atomic West including the effects of Hanford. Anyone is welcome to join the walk at any time. However, to join the walk for any of the overnight stays, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-780-6739.
The walkers will be on Bainbridge Island for a rest day on Wednesday, Aug. 7, and walk to Suquamish the next day. For more information or to help with food on Aug. 7, contact Kathryn Keve at email@example.com. The Temple is located at 6154 Lynwood Center Road.
More information about Peace Pagodas and the 2013 Peace Walk flyer are both available from the home page at www.keveoriginals.com.
Kathryn Keve is a board member of Nipponzan Myohoji Temple.